Determining minimum sample sizes for IUCN Red List endangered oaks through simulation
Rosenberger, Kaylee J.
MetadataShow full item record
Collecting and conserving genetic diversity from plant populations for ex situ collections is a major conservation objective of seed banks and botanic gardens. However, current guidelines for collecting germplasm to preserve plant species ex situ might not adequately capture the genetic diversity of wild plant populations. In particular, sampling guidelines tailored to rare species are lacking, but can be produced by simulation. Here, we aim to recommend minimum sample sizes for several IUCN Red List oak species to aid in practical seed sampling guidelines. Oaks have high ecological importance and are exceptional species, meaning they cannot be seed banked using traditional methods. Thus, it becomes increasingly important to develop sampling strategies that efficiently capture the genetic diversity of these rare species. In this project, we used genetic simulations to represent several rare oak species and ‘sample’ from these populations using R. Specifically, we aimed to quantify performance of sampling across the range of possible sizes--from 1 individual to the total population size. From this, we determined the minimum sample size required to capture 95% of the species’ genetic diversity, which is a common threshold for sufficient genetic diversity. We also aimed to answer the question, “Does one sampling strategy fit all rare oak species?” We determined that one minimum sampling recommendation does not fit all oak species that we simulated. However, we were able to determine minimum sample sizes to capture sufficient genetic diversity for all 12 oaks, contributing to practical sampling guidelines for botanic gardens and arboreta.